Golden Gate Canyon
A relaxing mountain escape just 30 minutes from Denver, Golden Gate Canyon State Park offers thousands of acres of lush forest and more than 35 miles of trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding.
Golden Gate Canyon State Park is nestled in more than 12,000 acres of dense forest, rocky peaks and aspen-rimmed meadows. This park has electrical hook-ups and tent sites in two different campgrounds. There are stocked fishing ponds, picnic sites and the Panorama Point Scenic Overlook, where visitors can enjoy spectacular 100-mile views of the Continental Divide.
The park’s array of scenic trails meander through meadows and aspen groves, providing glorious autumn colors for sightseers and photographers. Mountain bikers and horseback riders can utilize the 19 miles of multiple-use trails, while hikers can enjoy the park’s 12 different trails throughout the year.
With the exception of the Visitor Center’s Show Pond, fishing is permitted in any stream or pond at Golden Gate Canyon State Park. Hunting is controlled and allowed only in the Jefferson County portion of the park. Hunting season lasts from the Tuesday after Labor Day through the Friday before Memorial Day.
There are many scenic picnic sites that provide a table and charcoal grill. These are offered on a first-come first-serve basis. With its breathtaking scenery, Panorama Point is also a popular spot for weddings.
There are various campsites in two campgrounds—Reverend’s Ridge and Aspen Meadow—that provide a unique camping experience:
Reverend’s Ridge campground offers five camper cabins and two yurts, which can house six people each. There are also 97 sites that can accommodate trailers, pickup campers and tents. Fifty-nine of those have electrical hookups. Campground facilities include flush toilets, shower and laundry facilities and a dump station. Each site is limited to a maximum of six people. Some of the camp loops close for the season in October.
Aspen Meadows campground is more primitive, with 35 sites for tents only. This campground usually closes for the season around mid-October (weather dependent). Facilities include a water pump, vault toilets, and designated campsites with table, fire rings, and high use tent pads. Each site is limited to a maximum of six visitors. Several sites accommodate horses, so please check with the park for more information.
Between Reverend’s Ridge and Aspen Meadows is the new Harmsen Ranch Guest House, a fully-furnished overnight accommodation. This four-bedroom, two-bath ranch is equipped with a full kitchen and can accommodate up to eight guests.
The Visitor Center is located at the intersection of Golden Gate Canyon Road (Highway 46) and Crawford Gulch Road. It is open seven days a week, though hours of operations vary by season.
Golden Gate Canyon State Park also offers backcountry camping, meaning park visitors hike to your destination and whatever you bring into the forest must come back out with you. There are four, three-sided shelters with roofs and wood floors that can sleep six people without a tent. There are also 20 backcountry tent sites open year-round. There are no amenities provided to backcountry campers, so be prepared for a rustic adventure.
The Harmsen Ranch Guest House also includes an outdoor deck with a gas grill. There is a large corral area with room for eight horses, making the ranch a unique spot for equestrians who are looking for overnight facilities that also can accommodate their horses. There are also two electrical RV sites located near the corral that are available to rent with the house rental.
Keep checking the Web site for updates as we open additional guest houses in the coming years.
LocationGolden Gate Canyon State Park 92 Crawford Gulch Rd. Golden, CO 80403 The park can be accessed via Gap Road from Highway 119, or up Golden Gate Canyon Road off of Highway 93.
Mueller State Park
Nestled in the Pikes Peak region of Colorado, Muller State Park is a 5,000-acre playground for wildlife watchers and winter enthusiasts.
Located west of Colorado Springs in Divide, Colo., Mueller State Park is full of colorful history and cultural heritage. Pioneers settled the lands in the mid-19th century after Ute Indians had hunted the grounds for centuries. Colorado’s Gold Rush came right through this park to the small towns of Cripple Creek and Victor. With over 50 miles of trails, outdoor enthusiasts are sure to enjoy the beautiful landscapes and quiet surroundings of Mueller State Park.
Mueller State Park is an outdoor oasis because of its natural forest setting. Many visitors enjoy the Watchable Wildlife area where mule deer, elk, black bears and hawks are regularly sighted.
With more than 50 miles of trails, Muller is ideal for horseback riding, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. The trails vary in length and difficulty, so there’s something for everyone, depending on your ability and desire. The trails are not groomed during the winter, so be sure to plan accordingly. The variety of terrain provides exciting opportunities for snow tubing and sled riding when there is sufficient snow.
For visitors who enjoy hunting, Mueller State Park is located in Big Game Unit 581. There are 800 acres adjoining the Dome Rock State Wildlife Area open for hunting during designated seasons established by the Colorado Wildlife Commission.
Enjoy Mueller’s uncrowded trails in the winter and stay at one of 16 electrical campsites. Available on a first-come, first-serve basis, these sites are located Revenuer’s Ridge Campground with access to modern bathrooms and vault toilets. When accessible, a dry dump station is also available to campers.
For a cozy, rustic experience, visitors can stay in one of three camper cabins at Mueller State Park. Located in the shadow of Pikes Peak, these cabins offer a fully equipped kitchen and bath, high vaulted ceilings, an indoor gas fireplace, custom furnishings and an outdoor deck with a gas barbeque grill. The cabins are all different sizes—the two-bedroom Pine Cabin can accommodate four guests; the three-bedroom Spruce Cabin can sleep six; and the four-bedroom Ponderosa cabin can accommodate eight visitors.
• Pets are not permitted in the cabins, on the trails or in the backcountry because the area is a designated Watchable Wildlife area.
• Visit the historic mining towns of Victor and Cripple Creek, located just 15 miles south of the park on Highway 67. You can take a mine tour, pan for gold or ride on the narrow gauge railroad.
• Extend your trip to the Pikes Peak region by visiting Eleven Mile and Spinney Mountain State Parks. Fishing conditions are great at both parks and they are conveniently located near Mueller State Park
• More than 50 miles of trails to explore on skis, snowshoes and horseback
• 16 electrical campsites open for winter camping and three cabins open year-round
• Breathtaking scenery in the shadow of Pikes Peak
LocationMueller State Park 21045 Highway 67 South Divide, CO 80814
St. Vrain State Park
A peaceful, family-friendly destination with modern camping facilities and tranquil ponds popular for fishing, birding and photography just north of Denver.
Only a short drive on I-25 from Denver or Fort Collins, St. Vrain State Park is a nature lover’s paradise. With over 152 land acres and 604 acres of water split among several ponds, the park offers an abundance of opportunities for outdoor activity.
Anglers, campers, photographers, birders and walkers all will find plenty of space to partake in their activity of choice year-round. Non-motorized vessels or those with trolling motors are permitted in the ponds, keeping the waters calm and the wildlife happy. Anglers will find excellent trout fishing in the fall, as well as bluegill, crappie, largemouth bass and catfish. The park’s serene atmosphere makes it a great spot to teach children how to fish.
St. Vrain State Park has approximately 3.5 miles of flat, unpaved trails suitable for biking and leisurely walking. Visitors should make sure to stop at one of the shelters or picnic tables often found underneath the large cottonwood and willow trees to soak in the breathtaking views of the Front Range and, particularly, Long’s Peak.
The largest Great Blue Heron rookery in the state is found inside the park. Visitors can also observe an abundance of migrating waterfowl, songbirds and raptors. During the winter, the park is home to bald eagles.
St. Vrain State Park has eight campgrounds with 87 campsites open for year-round camping. Most sites are located on or near the banks of the ponds and have varying amenities. Sites 1-41 have electric hookups with water nearby and a centrally-located dump station. Campsites 42-87, designated for motor homes and trailers, have water, sewer and electric hookups at each site. All campsites also include a grill, picnic table and concrete pad.
Campers will find restrooms, pay showers and a small meeting room at the Barbour Ponds Camper Services Building, which is centrally located to campsites 1-41.
• The Barbour Ponds Camper Services Building offers convenient coin-operated showers and flush toilets.
• Northern Colorado’s mild climate makes for comfortable year-round camping at any of the St. Vrain State Park’s 87 campsites. Campsites often fill on weekends, so reservations in advance are recommended
• Bring food and other necessary supplies for a picnic under the mature cottonwood or willow trees. Most sites have shelters and grills.
• Seven of the park’s 16 ponds boast some of northern Colorado’s best warm water fishing. Universally accessible fishing piers and stone fishing platforms located in Mallard, Sandpiper and Pelican Ponds make casting a line even easier.
• Birders flock to St. Vrain for the many migratory bird species that pass through the park. The ponds and trees attract great blue herons, snowy egrets, great egrets, great horned owls, red-tailed hawks, kingfishers, bald eagles, golden eagles, ospreys and others.
• Flat, easy trails are perfect for a leisurely stroll around the park and the unpaved roads are suitable for leisurely bicycling.